Rhetoric

Galatians 2:2 “And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain”

The art of rhetoric as Aristotle put it identifies three artistic modes of persuasion, one of which is “awakening emotion (pathos) in the audience so as to induce them to make the judgment desired.

Besides the need to understand the emotions of your audience, you must be able to establish credibility(ethos) with them as well. Finally, the reasoned discourse(logos), from a biblical perspective, is the very embodiment of Jesus Christ in whom God has revealed the knowledge of the Holy.

Don’t Run in Vain

The desire to be a light in this world of darkness brings momentary opportunities that present themselves almost unexpectedly and at times never to return. An opportunity to be light can be relegated to brief momentary interactions between people who might never meet again or a long standing relationship that grows over time.

I was hanging out with the guys at Set Free once again last week, as a men’s christian recovery program it is one I had been to many times before with the hope to add some encouragement, disciple, or simply listen while showing love. I was called aside by one of the leaders and as I was walking to meet him, my mind was racing through the scenarios of where I might have violated a rule. Upon hearing the reason for this random encounter I learned the usual speaker wasn’t available that night and they needed a fill in.

Now I’m not a gifted speaker, I don’t pastor a church and haven’t spent my life preparing sermons as many pastors do every week. Consequently, most pastors are very underappreciated, they selflessly serve and teach every week and Covid has only made their jobs that much harder.

Fortunately for me, my writings do give me a resource from which to draw and so I used an upcoming lesson to teach from that week.

When opportunities to minister come about, I realized I must make every effort to take advantage of the opportunity as they present themselves. We are called to run this race, this short life of living and interacting with others and serving Jesus to our fullest each and every time we get the chance….we certainly don’t want lose the opportunities we are given.

We run the race to win.

Philippians 2:14-16 “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

Winning this race is bringing as many souls to Jesus as we possibly can, while we can. It is navigating the myriad of challenges we face each and every day that challenge our faith and honoring the Lord in the midst of them.

The opportunities we receive my not be glamorous or cause excitement among the ranks but if the Lord brings them about you can be sure they are worthwhile.

How We Serve

The methods employed in relating truth are as numerous as there are people in this world. The ability to relate the truth of God can vary with each interaction, with each circumstance, or simply by how you show love to whom you relate.

Many think that being a good orator is necessary to effectively communicate truth but that simply is not accurate. If every person who wanted to serve Christ needed a degree in communication or had to be a dynamic speaker, the gospel would never have spread throughout the earth as it has today.

I’m not saying aristotle was wrong, I’m sure being able to understand the principles for good delivery would really help in delivering a message as important as the gospel. I’m saying, God can use someone who may not be well learned but have an earnest desire to share the love they have found.

Paul spoke of the importance of preaching the gospel:

I Corinthians 9:16 “For if I preach the gospel, there is no boasting to me, for necessity is laid upon me. But woe be to me if I should not preach the gospel.”

What are the critical elements of good evangelism?

Many would argue that the best way to evangelize is to form relationships or practice hospitality while living with integrity and bearing the christian message. Staying rooted in a local church is also part of the process of introducing others to the hope you profess. Now, my wife would wholeheartedly agree with this type of approach, she is very quiet and reserved and finds it difficult to speak up at times. The method’s of relational evangelism can be very sound but likewise extend for long periods of time with little to show for it.

The Encounter

Subscribe to Ray Comfort’s Biblical school of evangelism and you will hear a slightly different take. The necessity for being able to relate the core message of the gospel in a concise and effect way is one that they deem critical to being a disciple of Jesus. The opportunity to share the gospel may only happen for a brief moment in time for multiple reasons.

  1. You may never meet them again. Evangelizing a stranger is one that takes practice in engaging someone who will listen long enough to hear the message of the gospel.
  2. They may not live long enough to get hear the message. For those that want to practice relational evangelism, the opportunity that is hoped for may not come soon enough. No one is guaranteed their next breath and if an accident were to happen or some form of rapid disease, the time to present the message may be lost.
  3. The ability to lead a conversation toward the gospel without getting caught up in rabbit trails can be challenging for anyone who wants to effectively communicate God’s Word. Many times people talk about the weather, politics, or sports and it can be quite awkward trying to steer the conversation back to where you hoped it would go. The art of redirecting the conversation toward a spiritual context is one that takes a little practice but is easier than you might think.

1 Samuel 12:23 “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you. And I will continue to teach you the good and right way.”

No matter how you bring the message of the gospel, how well you speak, or what methods you use to illustrate God’s Truth—-the key is that you are trying. The reality is that so few people recognize that they have a purpose in this world as believers to share the gospel.

Getting past the fear of failing or having someone think of you as a Jesus freak can be big hurdles that are difficult to get past. Everyone wants to be accepted and to be shunned as a nut case can be more than they want to handle. The reality of it is, most people really appreciate you caring enough to share God’s truth with them. Sometimes the hardest looking people on the outside are the softest, most tender hearted people on the inside.

Acts 4:20 “For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Soon after taking those first bold steps of sharing your faith you will understand the joy of taking part in the salvation story that binds all believers for eternity.

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